How Do You Define Wealth?

10 Mar

“Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”  ~ Bob Marley

Hey, I am certainly not going to deny it.  When I was quite young, money was the be all and end all.  I remember getting a quarter and thinking that I was rich.  I would run down to the local candy store along with my other friends, and we would fill our pockets with what our quarters would buy.  Of course, I ended up broke again and would have to wait for another windfall from my mom.

When I began to understand what money was all about, in junior high school, I began to look to the time when I could get a job so that I could have a paycheck.  That money was going to be everything to me.  It would buy me things that I really wanted such as a new bicycle, records and audio tapes, and the like.  That first job gave me a taste of independence.  It also gave me a rude awakening about this thing called “taxes”.

When I became older, I understood both money as well as the responsibilities of having money.  I understood that taxes would be taken out.  I understood that I would fill the car up with gas — with my own money.  I understood that the money I made and the money I ultimately pocketed were going to be two considerably different numbers.  Because of that, I started to learn how to budget.

Then, I went to the seminary and I learned that money was not that important.  Yes, I had to make some money to pay for the first couple of years of college.  Yes, I would need to make money to buy cars and clothes and to go on vacations.  However, money was no longer my “goal”.  People were much more important.  I learned about the opportunities that I had to reach out and serve others and to make a difference in their lives.

Along with that schooling, I found out that riches have nothing to do with wealth.  I met people who were incredibly wealthy.  Some of them were miserable.  The promised happiness that comes with wealth is a fantasy.  It is a lie perpetrated by the world.  Real wealth comes from knowing God and serving God.  Real wealth is health and happiness.  Real wealth is friends.  Real wealth is God’s love.  If we have all of that, it doesn’t matter how much or how little actual money we possess.

Bob Marley had it so right:  “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”  Money cannot buy happiness.  It cannot buy friendship.  It cannot buy love.  And it certainly cannot buy eternity with God.

We need to strive for the real wealth:  God Himself.  All the money in the world will not save us from an eternity separated from God if we failed to serve Him while here on earth.  As the old adage goes, “He who dies with the most is still dead.”  We do not want to experience an eternal death.  We want the wealth of eternal life with God.

It’s time to get our priorities straight.  Perhaps the best way to begin is to focus on what truly matters in life.

FAITH ACTION:  Take the time that you need to consider your many spiritual blessings today and then give God the thanks that is His due.